Submitted by Vasanti dasi
Last August, we had an amazingly blissful Janmastami program at Snake River Correctional Facility in Ontario, Oregon. We have been going there regularly and I had been discussing how to bring in a prasadam (spiritual food offered to Krsna) with the Chaplain for over a year. Finally, through another chaplain at the facility, they discovered we could bring in outside food for Krsna’s Birthday. Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaja blessed us all by attending and speaking such uplifting hari-katha, giving hope and spiritual inspiration.
Gaura priya didi cooked up an unforgettable love-laden 7-course vegan feast! Syamasundara prabhu from Alachua, also came for the program. Below are some pictures from the event along with feedback we received from a few of the members present.
We will do it again this Janmastami. If anyone would be like to donate for the feast, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send a donation via paypal: email@example.com. Thank you so much. Jaya Srila Gurudeva! Jaya Srila Prabhupada! Jaya Guru-parampara!
i am extremely grateful to sreela bodhayan maharaj, vasanti dasi and syamasundar dasa for visiting srci and making this great event possible on such short notice, along with gaura priya dasi for cooking the sree krishna janmastami feast, which was enjoyed by many as an excellent assortment of vaishnav prashad. Sreela bodhayan maharaj spoke extensively about chanting the maha mantra. he said: this age of kali is the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. they should be here; we should not worry about all the conflict in the world, in our lives. this is natural for the present age. to get relief, we can chant the holy names of sree krishna and this chanting will give us kindness, tolerance and respect. krishna is a sanskrit word for god. in other cultures, people may use buddha, or god, or allah. in india, we say krishna. the word krishna means all-attractive eternal bliss. all living beings are striving for this. we all have krishna as our goal, even if we don’t know it. just as a piece of iron is attracted to a magnet, we living beings are all attracted to eternal bliss. but when a piece of iron is covered by rust, attraction to the magnet will be blocked. in our current state, our heart is covered with rust and chanting the maha mantra will clean our hearts. a question was asked of maharaj about feelings of guilt for the people we have hurt. maharaj said that to even chant a semblance of the holy name one time can destroy sins, it will clean our hearts, give us relief from hypocrisy and conflict, so we may live with kindness, tolerance and respect, and be attracted to eternal bliss, sree krishna. hari bol! – Satya Krsna dasa
i would like to thank sreela bodhayan maharaj for taking the time and travelling all the way from india to share your knowledge with us. three years had went by since i went to any religious services. when my friend, dasa, told me you were coming and invited me to hear you talk i got excited because we’ve talked before, and a lot of his spiritual beliefs i learned, were the same as mine. i would like to say you were right. the song we sang knocked the rust from my consciousness. and the story you told along with the knowledge you shared awakened me. thank you. you will not be forgotten. sincerely: Ray
a great irony accompanied this year’s janmastami — the salient interest in a total solar eclipse. we all watched intently while only days later and as if to counter this dramatic blip of additional darkness in our lives, we received a luminous visit. in celebration of lord krsna’s appearance concluding the dvarapa yuga, travelling all the way from the land of krsna’s birth, we received the most gracious light of sreela bodhayan maharaj — we only missed the two minutes of sun, but we do need as much light as possible — as any could imagine, sadhu-sanga in our milieu is remarkably rare — as hard to come by as a total eclipse, only this year ultimately it proved closer to being a reverse eclipse — light pouring out where it usually isn’t. we humbly thank the members of the ipbys prison seva program, gaura priya devi dasi catering, and most especially sreela bodhayan maharaj for availing us such a wealth of light this markedly auspisious appearance day. hare krsna! – Jason
i just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to sreela bodhayan maharaj, vasanti, and syamasundara for orchestrating the janmastami celebration on friday aug 25 2017 at snake river correctional institution. i especially enjoyed the krishna mantra. i’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety related to my experience in the military and i found the mantra very relaxing and i thank you for that bit of relief. also, a big thank you to amazing confectioners who provided the mouthwatering viands. as we say in the marine corps, bravo-zulu, well done. – Tyke
I really appreciated the guru and the rest of the guests who came for the hare krishna event. i’m glad i was there and i felt really welcomed. me being a christian, i did have some reservations on attending. those concerns were quickly extinguished because of the hospitality i was shown. i walked out of there with more of an understanding of what hare krishna is. i also left with a more peaceful spirit – and a full stomach (smile). the food was great!! – as well as the service. thank you all for coming. i hope to see you guys again. stay focused and continue to live your life’s purpose with purpose. with love, Rosney